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Homeless man blames thefts on drug habit

A long-term homeless man has admitted going on a theft spree to feed his “serious” drug problem. Andrew Arorash, 44, began his spate on July 27 — four days after completing probation for a previous offence.

The defendant was captured on CCTV footage climbing over a gate at Gibbons Company department store in Hamilton, at 1.37am, and taking merchandise from the company's storage area.

He returned two hours later to take more goods, making off with a total of 42 wash cloths worth $504 and nine bathtub mats worth $220.50.

On July 30, the defendant was again identified stealing property via CCTV footage, this time at Mount Saint Agnes Academy.

After a staff member discovered a projector on the floor and an opened cupboard at 4pm, Arorash was found to have taken a Nikon camera, a black tripod and a CD player valued at a total of $950.

On July 31, a MarketPlace employee found that his grey crash helmet and black Ray-Ban sunglasses had gone missing from his cycle.

CCTV footage showed Arorash stealing the items, worth a combined $400, at 6.56am nearby the Hamilton supermarket.

Finally, on August 2, property vanished from a taxi cab which had been taken for repair.

Later that day, when Arorash was arrested on Front Street for an unrelated matter, police found items including a mobile phone, a Swiss army knife and a flashlight, which the cab driver later identified as his.

This morning, Magistrates' Court heard that the defendant had an extensive criminal history and had spent time in mental health court, drug treatment court and prison.

Addressing magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo, Arorash said: “I've got a serious drug habit, and I've been living on the streets for the last 30 years.

“Once you've fallen through the cracks, it's hard to get up.

“I would like to try drug treatment court. I don't want to live like this anymore.”

Mr Tokunbo remanded the defendant to Westgate Correction Facility until next week, when he will attend drug treatment court to assess his suitability.

The magistrate adjourned sentencing on the thefts until August 31, and ordered a Social Inquiry Report and a BARC report on Arorash.

Also in Magistrates' Court, Terrance Parsons pleaded guilty to stealing food and drink worth $17.41 from The MarketPlace on August 3.

Parsons, 47, was seen on CCTV at 10.50am entering the supermarket, placing hot food into a black disposable container and taking a SoBe juice drink.

After reviewing CCTV footage, staff members caught up with the defendant and he was later arrested.

At Hamilton Police Station, Parsons told officers that his aunt had given him the items, although he later admitted to stealing them.

The court heard that the defendant had previous convictions dating back to 1995, and that he had previously been diagnosed with a substance abuse problem.

Mr Tokunbo placed Parsons on probation for six months, on the condition that he stays away from The MarketPlace.

• It is The Royal Gazette's policy not to allow comments on stories regarding criminal court cases. This is to prevent any statements being published that may jeopardise the outcome of that case.

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Published August 05, 2016 at 2:32 pm (Updated August 05, 2016 at 2:32 pm)

Homeless man blames thefts on drug habit

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